Today's news

November 27, 2002

First woman boss for Cambridge in 800 years
Cambridge University is to appoint the first woman "chief executive" in its 800-year history. The university is expected to announce next week that Alison Richard, a British academic and Cambridge graduate who is provost of the Ivy League American university Yale, will become its new vice-chancellor. The current vice-chancellor, Sir Alec Broers, steps down at the end of this academic year after seven years in the post.
(Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph)

Kinnock weighs in against top-up fees
The campaign to defeat Downing Street's plans to introduce top-up fees for university students gained fresh momentum last night when Neil Kinnock, Labour's former leader, gave his public backing. With the chancellor, Gordon Brown, ministers Clare Short, David Blunkett, and ex-education secretary, Estelle Morris, all signalling dissent, it was rumoured at Westminster that another cabinet heavyweight, Robin Cook, was lining up against the Blairite line.
Kenneth Baker: Top-up fees will let universities walk tall
(Daily Telegraph)

British students sell their eggs to US
A California fertility clinic has been contacted by 240 British women who heard that two students had sold their eggs to childless American couples to help to pay off their debts. The two women - one from Bristol University, the other from Aston University - were paid several thousand pounds each by an agency because of their looks and intelligence. After the publicity other British university students contacted Egg Donation Inc in Encino. Last night the clinic's director of egg donation, was "thrilled beyond imagination" with the applications and hoped to accept the vast majority.

Iran arrests six student leaders
Iran's hardline conservatives showed their determination to clamp down on dissent yesterday by arresting pro-reform student activists who had led two weeks of peaceful campus rallies demanding political change. At least six student leaders were seized in different places in Tehran on the orders of the revolutionary court, and more arrests are expected. One witness described how Abdullah Momeni, a senior member of the office to foster unity, the main student union, was bundled into an unmarked car after being sprayed in the face with tear gas by security officials.
(Financial Times)

Animal rights lobby wins hearing
An inquiry into Cambridge University's plans to build a £24 million centre for medical research on monkeys could turn into a public debate on the rights and wrongs of animal experiments, after anti-vivisectionists won the right to show an underground video at the hearings. The planning inquiry, which opened yesterday, was called after South Cambridgeshire district council turned down the university's original application.
(Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent,Times)

Women now half of world's Aids victims
For the first time women account for almost half the people in the world living with Aids, infected with HIV or dying from the disease, according to figures released yesterday. The Aids Epidemic Update from UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation showed that 19.2 million of the 38.6 million adults living with the infection are women. Women also account for 2 million of the 4.2 million adults newly infected this year and for 1.2 million of the 2.5 million adults who died in the same period.
(Daily Telegraph, Independent, Times)

Depression on the rise among Generation X
The number of young people battling depression has doubled in 12 years, as hundreds of thousands find themselves excluded from rising levels of education and prosperity, according to a report today from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Its researchers looked into how life has changed for men and women in their 20s, comparing a sample of 10,000 people in the so-called Generation X, born in 1970, with a previous survey of a similar number of baby boomers born in 1958.

China to pump rivers 800 miles north
The Chinese government authorised one of the world's biggest engineering projects yesterday: to pump water from the flood-prone south of the country to the drought-stricken north. Three man-made rivers will transfer water from the Yangtze across 800 miles to the crowded northern provinces, where more than 400 cities now face water shortages. The first such imported water could reach Shandong province by 2005. By 2010, water from the south could be flowing in Beijing.
(Guardian, Times)

Fisherman finds Anglo-Saxon canoe
A dugout canoe that was nearly chopped into firewood has turned out to be the oldest boat found off the British coast. The 16ft vessel, carved from the trunk of an oak or elm tree, was used about 1,200 years ago by the Anglo-Saxons, possibly as a ferry close to the Suffolk coast where it was found. Archaeologists believe the boat, which was discovered when it was dredged from a depth of 40ft by a trawler close to Southwold, is the only example of its kind dating back to the Anglo-Saxon era.

Philosopher John Rawls dies
John Rawls, the leading English-speaking political philosopher in the tradition of Locke, Rousseau and Kant, who put individual rights ahead of the common good, died on Sunday aged 81.
(Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times)

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